50+ Sample Conference Session Proposal

What Is a Conference Session Proposal?

A conference session proposal is a formal proposal that outlines a conference event and its schedule of activities, among other components. The proposal can cover a wide range of conference topics from education to economics to health.  

According to an article by Finances Online, web conferencing was already widely practiced even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic did, however, dramatically change the virtual landscape of web conferences and online meetings. The American company Zoom witnessed astonishing revenue growth in just a couple of years. The video conferencing platform earned roughly $121 million in 2018. When the global health crisis hit in early 2020, the company had revenue sales of close to $623 million by the end of the year.    

Tips For Hosting a Conference Session

A conference session falls under MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) in the events industry. Sessions can either be intimate gatherings or big-scale sponsored events, and organizing one can be quite challenging. The examples below are some practical tips for anyone who plans to propose or hold a conference session.   

Organization is key. When it comes to any kind of event, the overarching goal is usually to strive for a smooth-sailing event. One of the primary ways this can be achieved is through detailed preparation. It does not matter if it is a single day, 3-day conference session, or a week-long event, planning and preparation are key ingredients to an event’s success. Preparation sets the stage for a well-organized event; and when the day of the conference arrives, both organizers and participants can expect a smooth event. One creative way to plan better for your next event is by hypothetically placing yourself in the participants’ shoes. Everything from the layout of the venue to the seating arrangements, everything must be taken into consideration not just from the event organizer’s perspective, but from the audience’s point of view too. Prepare an engaging program. One of the core elements of a conference session is the program. A conference brings people together to discuss a shared topic or to achieve a common goal. The way the goals or topics is communicated to the participants matters. It can be easy to just remain complacent and conduct the conference in an ordinary or traditional way. But treating a conference merely like a regular meeting can be a waste of people’s time. To attract participants and keep the audience interested, you need to come up with an engaging program or itinerary. More than just preparing a compelling topic or subject, the way you convey your message is far more challenging. Selecting skilled and engaging resource speakers can make even the most mundane topics seem lively and fascinating. Encourage participation. Typically, one the most basic success indicators of a conference event is the level of participation. For public and widely-promoted events, numbers matter and the goal of organizers is to attract as many people as possible to the event. A higher volume of traffic often, although not always, translates to greater sales. However, in addition to just filling up empty seats, a good way to really engage participants is to encourage interaction with the speakers or amongst each other. An active and dynamic audience makes for a better and more lively conference session. For example, it’s often the case to see just one or two speakers dominating a conference session. To encourage participation, try incorporating an open forum in the conference program in order to offer the audience an opportunity to directly interact with the speaker or host. Offer snacks and refreshments. When you expect people to sit through an entire day of lectures or seminars, energy levels can predictably dip. For some audience members or participants, staying alert or engaged may be a challenge. To help counter this, conference organizers would do well to set aside a budget for meals or snacks to serve participants. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages may help sustain their energy levels and interest. If the conference is an event that would last several days, ensure that meals are covered and free flowing drinks are stationed in strategic areas of the venue. Incorporating scheduled breaks into the program can also help audiences regain energy and focus.

What To Expect at Conferences 

When it comes to conferences and similar events, there can be all kinds of conferences. Most tend to follow a certain template, and yet others are more creative than most in some cases. Still, the program or itinerary would depend on the topic of the conference and what methods or resources are suited for the topic. The following examples are just some of the most common activities to be expected at conferences.   

Workshops. Many conferences are aimed at skills development or improvement. Whether the topic is about leadership, public speaking, or even acting, companies and organizations often send their employees to attend workshops to refine or build certain skills. Workshops can be a segment of the larger conference program. Depending on a conference’s itinerary, a workshop session can be brief or it can last a few days. Basically, when people speak of workshops, there’s a general understanding that there is a skill to be learned or mastered once the workshop is completed. Breakout Sessions. Just like a workshop, a breakout session may be a minor part of a conference’s main program. In these sessions, the audience is divided into smaller and more intimate groups. The purpose of these types of sessions is to enable participants to hopefully interact more with one another and gain a deeper understanding of the discussion. Group sharing or focused group discussions are great ways for individuals to learn from each other. Not much participation is involved when audiences are limited to just being passive listeners to a resource speaker. Presentations. Presentations are a staple in conference sessions. Resource persons or speakers are usually tapped to give presentations or deliver speeches about the conference topic. For example, TED Talks usually come in this template. Trade conferences, conventions, summits or general assemblies normally tend to include various presentations as part of their overall program too. Presentations can also be communicated in a variety of ways. Depending on the program, speakers may prepare video presentations, PowerPoint presentations, or even live performances at conferences. Whatever the method of conveyance, presentations are meant to aid audiences in their understanding and comprehension of the conference topic.

How to Create a Conference Session Proposal

To create a comprehensive conference session proposal, you need to determine what kind of conference you want to present. If it is convenience and efficiency you are looking for, try using a predesigned template. It will save you more time and you don’t need to start from scratch. Once you’ve decided what type of conference to hold, follow the basic instructions below.  

Step 1: Determine the Objectives

The first step in creating a conference session proposal is establishing the objectives. What is your main goal in organizing this conference? What do you want participants to take away from the session? These are the types of questions that you should be asking when drafting this section of your proposal. Whether it is to educate people on a certain subject or to deepen participants’ appreciation and understanding for a particular advocacy, your objectives must be descriptive, clear, and attainable. Try to keep it to a minimum and avoid listing too many objectives. The goal is to keep focus and not spread yourself too thin.     

Step 2: Provide Sufficient Background 

Since it is a formal proposal, you would need supporting ideas that can back up your goals and plans. Whatever the conference is centered on, make sure to give the reader a backstory on why it is important for such an event to be held. Or at the very least, offer a little history as to the preparations and circumstances that led to the conception of the event. And depending on the type of conference, you can even provide some background on the speakers, material, or expectations of the conference session. 

Step 3: Prepare a Program Itinerary

A key component of a formal conference is the program. Make sure to include a detailed list of activities and their corresponding schedule in your proposal. Since a conference is an event, people and participants will expect to do what is required. Having a solid program or template to follow is crucial for a well-organized and smooth-sailing conference. For this section, try to be as detailed and specific as possible. Include all the key details such as the date, time, location, and the title of the activity. One option is to create an itinerary program using a table or chart to make it more organized.      

Step 4: Employ an Assessment Tool   

A conference session may wrap up on the final day of the event but that does not mean the learning stops. A conference is still an event, so it must be subject to scrutiny and evaluation. There ought to be success indicators in place to rate a conference’s positive and negative impacts. Post-event processing is key for continuous learning and improvement. Therefore, your proposal must be forward-thinking enough to have a tangible measuring tool or rubric that will enable you to assess the impact of the conference. 


How do you write a conference session proposal?

To write a conference session proposal, you need to establish objectives, a background on the conference, a detailed program, strategies and other concrete plans (e.g., budget, etc.). Refer to the instruction guide above for more details on how to create a conference session proposal.

What is a proposal for a conference?

It is basically a written sales pitch for a conference event. It proposes activities and programs with the aim of realizing a common goal in the form of a conference.

How do you write a presentation proposal?

Preparation is key. Do your research and anticipate questions from the panelists or audience. Create an engaging and visually appealing presentation. If it helps, you can prepare an outline or summary notes to hand out to your audience prior or after your presentation.

A conference is a great opportunity to learn and exchange ideas with new people. For presenters, resource persons or conference organizers, there is a lot of preparation and planning that goes into it. Browse the wide selection of sample conference proposals above and create your own proposal today!